Wildlife Veterinarian

Give medical care to animals out in the wild.
picture of Wildlife Veterinarian

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$50,000 – $145,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Wildlife Veterinarians do?

The term “wildlife” encompasses a large number of animals. Eagles, salamanders, raccoons, bears, coyotes, and hummingbirds are all considered wildlife. The one thing these animals have in common is that they aren’t domesticated.

They cannot be leashed or caged and brought to a regular Veterinarian when they’re injured or ill. Instead, they must be brought to a Wildlife Veterinarian for care.

Wildlife Veterinarians generally work for large animal conservation organizations. Often, animals need care because they’re injured. As a Wildlife Veterinarian, you’ll learn to bolt down your food quickly so you’ll be ready when an emergency occurs.

You may already have animals in your clinic. During your rounds, you take their temperatures, check their bandages, or give them medications. While you might be tempted to coo at your patients or lavish them with attention, you’ll resist. The animals must be returned to the wild, if possible, so you don’t want to tame them.

When an injured animal arrives at the clinic, you stop what you’re doing and rush to it. Sometimes, you may be asked to drive to a remote spot to capture a wounded animal and bring it back to your clinic. Technicians run tests, such as x-rays and blood screenings, and you look over the results.

Sometimes, you take the patient directly into the operating room to correct the problem. Other times, you do less invasive treatments, such as splinting, stitching, and medication therapies. Sadly, some animals may be too wounded to save, and you’ll be forced to administer drugs to end their lives.

Should I be a Wildlife Veterinarian?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • How to become a Wildlife Veterinarian

    Most Wildlife Veterinarians have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaaa9&chl=|||||doctorate+%28100%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,100
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